𝘾𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙗𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙈𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙇𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙋𝙖𝙪𝙡𝙞 𝙈𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙖𝙮, 𝙍𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙂𝙚𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧 𝙀𝙦𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝘼𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙨𝙩
Pauli Murray's (1910-1985) activism and legal scholarship directly contributed to the eventual end of the Jim Crow laws. Murray's book "States' Laws on Race and Color" and law school writings were critical materials for the team that successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education, formally ending school segregation in America. Murray also played a role in securing equal protection for women under the law. A law review article "Jane Crow and the Law" Murray co-wrote directly inspired Ruth Bader Ginsburg's successful efforts to bring down discrimination on the basis of sex.
Murray faced opposition and suppression from society while trying to do her work and live her life. Unknown to most, Murray actually identified as a man who was attracted to women, while using female pronouns. Throughout her adulthood, there was virtually no space afforded to non-mainstream sexual identities. Murray tried without success to obtain hormone therapy. She was unable to be open about her gender identity, faced rejection from and within academic institutions due to her sex and race, and was penalized for peacefully protesting against segregation laws. Despite these obstacles, Murray was instrumental in advancing gender equality and civil rights, and helped set the stage for the sweeping movements of the 1960s.
Photo: AP Photo/Frank C. Curtin